There is no evidence that increased perceptions of a politically divided country have affected President Obama’s standing with the public. His overall job approval rating of 61% is largely unchanged from March (59%), and the early reviews for his first major overseas trip as president are positive. In the survey, conducted before Obama’s surprise visit to Iraq, 63% say Obama did either an excellent (28%) or good job (35%) in representing America’s interests on the trip; just 28% say he did only a fair (19%) or poor job (9%) in representing the nation’s interests.
In other words, partisanship is another way of saying Republican opinion is different than everyone else's.
And here's an interesting table: every year, people seem to say "this year" is worse than others when it comes to partisanship. Polling around inauguration time this year was the exception and not the rule:
As the always insightful EJ Dionne points out, with House Republicans being more Southern conservative than in the past, it's tough not to be. "If you can't find common ground, that doesn't mean you're partisan," [Nancy Pelosi] said. "It just means you believe two different things." But guess who people don't have confidence in when it comes to the economy? The answer, of course, is Republican leaders.
Moreover, Obama garners considerably more confidence on the economy than either Democratic or Republican leaders in Congress. Fully 70% say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in Barack Obama to do the right thing when it comes to fixing the economy. A majority (55%) also say they have at least a fair amount of confidence in congressional Democratic leaders. By comparison, just 38% voice the same degree of confidence in Republicans leaders in Congress.
Let's look at partisan breakdown and, as always, look at the indies:
If there's an argument between Congressional Dems and Obama, the people have more confidence in Obama. And in every way, Republicans lose, including 30% of their own party (which, to remind people, is only 24% of the public according to Pew in March 2009.) That's called "political capital" and it needs to be spent while Obama still has it.
Next, Pew looks at issues. Guess what? Just like the CBS/NY Times poll, Pew finds:
In terms of budget tradeoffs, most Americans (59%) say they would place a higher priority on spending more money to make health care more accessible and affordable than on reducing the budget deficit. A nearly identical majority (58%) believes that spending more to improve education ranks as a higher priority than reducing the deficit.
However, opinion is more evenly divided over whether increasing funding to develop new energy technology should trump deficit reduction: about half (49%) say that spending on new energy technology is the higher priority while nearly as many say reducing the budget deficit (45%) is the higher priority.
Here's the deal on the issue people are most unhappy about:
Here's the Big Kahuna Obama chart, showing who approves and who doesn't in many of the interesting demographic categories.
White evangelicals don't approve (37%), and neither do Republicans. However, apparently everyone else does, suggesting that Republicans are isolated and out of touch (or, more charitably, representing a Southern conservative viewpoint the rest of the country doesn't share.) But that, we knew.
This is a Pew poll, and that means a wealth of data. There's little in the poll that is good for Republicans (even though by tradition polling is always good for John McCain), though energy does worst in terms of clear priorities. However, for those who claim that Obama wins on popularity and not the issues, the CBS/NY Times poll and this poll put that to rest. People approve of Obama's agendas and that's a strong message for Congress to heed, especially the Democrats.